Read a thread on Twitter by N. K. JemisinN. K. Jemisin (Twitter)
A post-#DemDebate2 thought: I too was a beneficiary of bussing. Except now I understand how damaging that framing is. Really, bussing allowed white schools to benefit from *me,* all for the low price of student budget dollars they were wasting anyway.
My mom was like most black parents then -- doing the best she could. The private schools in town cost the earth. The black-neighborhood schools had 12+ yo textbooks, no AP, underfunded everything, tired teachers. White public schools were a good middle ground. But.
I struggled for years with poor self esteem because I had somehow absorbed the idea that black =/= smart, and that I should be grateful to sit by white kids. That my school was doing me a favor by making me get up predawn to ride a bus for an hour. I had that Joe Biden thinking.
But in retrospect, I made those schools look good as hell. Won academic awards left & right, mostly bc I loved to read and that was half my education right there. The much-vaunted AP classes were a joke; I mostly did self-study and busted 4s and 5s on the exams.
There were dozens of black kids like me in those white schools. Probably more. But I don't know, bc we were parceled out so there would be only a few of us in each class. Enough to look good, diversity-wise. Not enough to support each other, or make the white ppl uncomfy.
My most vivid memories of high school aren't social, but pathological. I remember being on prom committee and fighting to get *any* black music played; the principal still banned rap. I remember the school pulling shenanigans to bump a black valedictorian to 2nd place.
Battles like that every day, every step of the way. We did well, and everyone expressed surprise, and told us it was because we'd been "given" an opportunity to share space w/white kids - not that we'd earned it. If we struggled, though, of course it was because we were black.
On balance, they got bragging rights. Scholarships! Ivy League acceptances! *I* got an early introduction to how racism covers for white mediocrity and ego, and probably a couple of extra years of therapy. Also maybe an early start on a few novels. Was so bored I wrote in class.
So I'm like most black Americans of my gen in having mixed feelings about integration. Structural racism worked as hard to erase whatever we gained as our parents had worked to give us those gains. And a big part of the struggle was people like Biden. "Not racist" racists.
The equivocators, the pleasant moderates, so happy to appease blatant racists at our expense. Sure, integration, but not if it forces white kids to sit alongside inferior black kids. (We're always inferior.) Sure, "states rights"! Sure "school choice" (to reinstate segregation)!
White liberals who would be appalled to be called racist... but who believed, same as white conservatives, that we really *weren't* as good or smart as them. But at least they were willing to do us a favor -- a limited one, dependent on their generosity and continued primacy.
Not going anywhere in particular w/this. I'm not a Harris supporter. She did say a thing that needed saying, tho -- a thing that moderate white Dems really need to think about when they wonder why we don't trust them. We *remember.* We see you. That's why.
You are as much to blame for where we are as a country right now as Trump & his ilk -- because you won't push back. You have principles but won't stick to them. You're weak and cowardly when lives are on the line, but you tell yourself you're being smart and diplomatic.
We need strength and courage right now. We need conviction, and obstinacy, and anger. If you won't fight, what fucking good are you? Looking deadass at Nancy Pelosi right now.
::sigh:: My pressure's probably up, and I'm harshing my own post-vacation mellow. Rant over. Toodles.

hat tip:

👓 The Disciplines Where No Black People Earn Ph.D.s | The Atlantic

Read The Disciplines Where No Black People Earn Ph.D.s (The Atlantic)
In more than a dozen academic fields—largely STEM related—not a single black student earned a doctoral degree in 2017.

📑 Read Write Respond #037 | Read Write Collect | Aaron Davis

Annotated Read Write Respond #037 by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (Read Write Collect)
This a harrowing story made even sadder by the grim reality of the statistics.  

I’m almost losing count of how many racial health disparity stories I’ve been seeing lately. It’s so common I’ve got tags for it on my site now.

👓 I Was Pregnant and in Crisis. All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman | Time

👓 Stress From Racism May Be Causing African-American Babies To Die More Often | NPR

Read How Racism May Cause Black Mothers To Suffer The Death Of Their Infants (NPR.org)
African-American women are more likely to lose a baby in the first year of life than women of any other race. Scientists think that stress from racism makes their bodies and babies more vulnerable.

👓 I Was Pregnant and in Crisis. All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman | Time

Read I Was Pregnant and in Crisis. All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman by Tressie McMillan Cottom (Time)
At every step of a fairly typical pregnancy for a black woman in the U.S., I was rendered an incompetent subject with exceptional needs.

I just don’t have words.

If you’re feeling depressed and angry though, I invite you to continue on with some stories I can’t help but collect: 

🎧 ‘The Daily’: A Life-or-Death Crisis for Black Mothers | New York TImes

Listened to ‘The Daily’: A Life-or-Death Crisis for Black Mothers by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Black mothers and infants in the United States are far more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white counterparts. The disparity is tied intrinsically to the lived experience of being a black woman in America.

On today’s episode:

  • Linda Villarosa, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine.
  • Simone Landrum, a young mother in New Orleans.

Background reading:

The story in this episode is a superb and emotional follow-on of an excellent NPR/ProPublica story I read back in December. We need more stories like this.

I nearly had a panic attack while listening to this. The disparities in parts of America are so painful and distressing and we can, could, and should be doing more to improve them.

👓 Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving’s Story Explains Why | NRP

Read Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving's Story Explains Why (NPR.org)
Black women are three times more likely to die from complications of childbirth than white women in the U.S. Racism, and the stress it causes, can play a leading role in that disparity.

What a painful story…